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Betsy-Tacy (Betsy-Tacy #1)

4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  12,760 ratings  ·  626 reviews
Best Friends Forever

There are lots of children on Hill Street, but no little girls Betsy's age. So when a new family moves into the house across the street, Betsy hopes they will have a little girl she can play with. Sure enough, they do--a little girl named Tacy. And from the moment they meet at Betsy's fifth birthday party, Betsy and Tacy becoms such good friends that ev
Paperback, 144 pages
Published August 14th 2007 by HarperCollins (first published 1940)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Carmen Maloy
The Betsy-Tacy series may be the most influential set of books I ever read. I reread them over and over, because they never lose their beauty. Betsy-Tacy is the first book in the delightful series by Maud Hart Lovelace. Five-year-old Betsy longs for a best friend and finds one when Tacy moves in across the street. Together they have many adventures, including going on picnics, selling sand, playing with paper dolls, going "calling" on neighbors, climbing The Big Hill, and going to school for the ...more
My all-time favorite series as a child. I read every book in the Betsy Tacy (and Tib!) series multiple times and fervently wished I lived on Hill St. with them at the turn of the 20th century. I am so obsessed with this series that I want to visit Mankato, MN and see all things Maud Hart Lovelace related. Maybe I can force my daughter to get interested in this series when she is old enough?? Then, I'll have an excuse to read them all over again.

Sacrilege that it is for me to say this, as a child
Sep 10, 2012 Melody rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everybody
Recommended to Melody by: Probably Mrs. Borski, worlds most awesome librarian
Shelves: favorites
9/2012 This book gets better every time I read it.

12/2009 I have loved this book so long I can't remember when first I read it. I certainly didn't have two numbers in my age. I've re-read it countless times, and every time I've read it as an adult, I marvel at Lovelace's skill. Told from the perspective of a five-year-old girl, it rings true on every possible level. Read from the perspective of a forty-five-year-old woman, it's poignant and heartbreaking and nostalgic and delightful. This is my
Lisa Vegan
Sep 26, 2007 Lisa Vegan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all kids with the caveat of knowing that this is an old book & women who have not yet read it
Recommended to Lisa by: Ginny Messina
Thank you to Goodreads friends Ginny & Constance: I saw Betsy-Tacy among your favorites listed on your profile pages and borrowed this book from the library – even by chance got the original 1940 edition which was pretty cool.

How did I miss this series of Betsy-Tacy books when I was a child?! I would have really enjoyed them. The titles Heaven to Betsy and Betsy in Spite of Herself do sound familiar so maybe I did read those; I don’t remember.

This Betsy-Tacy book is so well-written, and the
Sherwood Smith
May 03, 2012 Sherwood Smith added it
Shelves: fiction
There were a few books I skipped reading in my local library, and this was one. Most of the books I skipped were boys' sports, or monster books, but also I tended to skip anything illustrated by Lois Lenski. Illustrations were too integral to the story for me, and if I didn't like the cover art or the frontispiece, I often wouldn't read a book until talked into it.

Yep, I missed some good books that way; I still haven't read the "Limberlost" books, which I remember taking down, looking at, and h
Ginny Messina
I've been an avid reader for as long as I can remember, and have many favorites from childhood, but none have ever meant as much to me as the happy and cozy Betsy-Tacy books.

My beloved aunt dug a dusty old copy of Betsy-Tacy out of her attic for me when I was 4 or 5 years old. From the very beginning, I wanted to climb inside this book and live there forever. Written in the 1940s, it is an autobiographical account of Maud Hart Lovelace's turn-of-the-century childhood in Mankato, MN--which become
Apr 18, 2008 Annette rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: little girls
Shelves: juvenile-fiction
Ahh! the innocence of youth! This is a really cute book about two little girls who become best friends. It takes place at the turn of the century which makes it especially charming. It's written in a very simple way which makes it perfect for younger children to enjoy. I read it to my two little girls ages 6 and 4 and they loved it so much that we have decided to read the next one, too, "Betsy-Tacy and Tib".
I can't remember when I first starting reading this series but 2 years ago I bought them all again to read and own because as a child I had always checked them out from the library. I re-read them all and although the first stories are meant for child level readers I enjoyed a trip down memory lane with Betsy, Tacy, and Tib (a character who comes later on in the series). The reading level grows with the characters which is good for young readers. Utterly delightful stories of adventures and frie ...more
Oct 19, 2011 Audrey rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Audrey by: a friend of my mom's when I was very young. Forever grateful!
A delightful book that celebrates the innocence and imagination of childhood. This book is written for a very young audience and makes a perfect read-aloud. When I was little, all I wanted was a friend like Tacy. :) I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: growing up is okay, but nothing compares to the magic of childhood—when simple things can become most adventurous and exciting. This book is the first in a series of ten books about Betsy (plus two books about other characters in which she i ...more
This works as a delightful stand-alone novel about friendship and family, but when I look at the entire series, I marvel at how MHL creates such a strong foundation for all the books to come. It always comes back to a present of a friend.

Simple language, but this is the most poetic one in the series.

Re-read for VSC. Last read: 1-28-07 (not counting audiobook listens)
Amy C.
Jul 08, 2011 Amy C. rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Amy by: Melissa Wiley
A beautiful, perfect book. I'm rereading it to the girls right now (the first time for the 5yo) and their giggles are delicious. I never read these books as a kid, and I'm so glad to be sharing them with my daughters.
I can hear some of my reading friends saying, "What? You really read that?" Yes, yes I did. I loved the whole Betsy-Tacy series when I was a child, and I still love the books now.

Betsy-Tacy is a sweet story of two five year olds, based on the author and her best friend, who meet and become friends at Betsy's fifth birthday party. The book follows their adventures over the course of a year, and Maud Hart Lovelace captures perfectly the imaginative play that is typical of little girls that age. I
Maud Hart Lovelace is frank and short-sentenced. The storyline goes something like, “Once upon a time, there were two little girls who became best friends, even though one was lively and imaginative and one was terribly shy.” Lovelace is not interested in drawing riveting characters. She tells us who they are in stubby sentences in the first chapter of the book and then she moves on. But, like the Little House series, these are books about the way of life in a time. The early 1900s homes line a ...more
Aug 11, 2013 Irene rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Elementary school aged girls
Shelves: children
A very sweet story of two little girls growing up in a simpler time. In this day and age of social media and online games, it was refreshingly quaint to read about a time when ladies went calling, milk was delivered in horse-drawn wagons, and children's play was limited only by the scope of their own imaginations. Betsy and Tacy, both five years old, play games and explore their neighborhood with their mothers' permission but without adult supervision.

The author takes Betsy and Tacy through sev
I read a lot of older children's fiction when I was little, but somehow I never read Betsy-Tacy or any others by Maud Hart Lovelace. I'd seen some of them in bookstores, but somehow I formed the conclusion that they were too cloying and religious - even for me (I'm not religious or overly sentimental, but I can forgive it in very old children's books). I finally decided to read Betsy-Tacy after downloading it for my Kindle and I was pleasantly surprised! Betsy-Tacy is completely adorable and I s ...more
Emilia P
So I had heard about this in passing many times up in Minneapolis, I think there are things in the Children's Department named after Lovelace or something something? I was all psh old fuddy-duddy sentimental pap.
But, in my extreme and strangely exhibited homesickness, something prompted me to just pick up the first Betsy-Tacy book, and about one chapter in I became a crazy convert.

Betsy lives in Deep Valley Minnesota (it's really the Mankato of MHL's childhood!) and she's the only kid her age.
Mar 22, 2008 Libby rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Libby by: Ruth Stein, my Bobe
Looking back, I think Betsy-Tacy had a profound effect on my child self's notion of what might be truly important in this world, namely friendship. The events in the Betsy-Tacy books are pretty mundane, unlike those other Minnesota-centric novels I loved as a child (hello, Little House!) but these novels taught me that friendship itself is a gripping story, an adventure, a tool for transforming the quotidian, prosaic everyday world into a secret, magical place.

Maud Hart Lovelace based her novel
Sep 16, 2008 Arthur rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: the young at heart
Recommended to Arthur by: Nora and Delia Ephron
I am totally the wrong demographic for the Betsy-Tacy books, which are written for young girls. I read book 1 out of curiosity, as the series is mentioned by Meg Ryan's character in the film You've Got Mail. I found this look at young life a hundred years ago so engrossing that I couldn't stop until I'd read all ten of the main series, plus Winona's Pony Cart, set in the same fictional town. The biggest asset in the series is Lovelace's great characterizations of children (who become young adult ...more
Nov 12, 2008 Cathy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Cathy by: my mother
A perfect book. I just re-read the entire series in honor of my Mom. I love the way they grow in complexity with the kids. The first four books are intended for early readers or read-alongs, ages 5-6, 8-9, 10 and 12. The following 6 books follow Betsy and The Crowd through high school and beyond. (I won't subject you to a review of each of the 10 books.) These characters are among the most vivid and wonderful that I've ever read. The fact that the stories took place 100 years ago does not take a ...more
A series I wish I had read as a little girl. I still have to get going on these, but my 8yo loves them =)


UPDATE :: 10/24/11 :: When I originally started this with my oldest a few years ago, she ended up taking it upon herself to finish, because I was taking too long to read it to her ~ LOL! Now, we are picking it up again as our first read-aloud of our first year of homeschooling. I am mainly reading it to my school-aged girls. If the twins sit in, then great, but at this time good fall pictu
Sep 04, 2007 Stephanie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who wants to write
This book changed my life and made me want to become a writer. I still remember discovering it on a rainy day. It had been given to my sister, who chucked it aside to watch TV. I was enchanted by page one. Unfortunately, the later books in the series were out of print. When my family moved to New Jersey, I was miserable until I found that the Library of The Chathams had the entire series. That fact alone made moving worthwhile. Nearly 30 years later, Hart Lovelace remains my favorite writer, EVE ...more
Oh gosh. It is just as adorable as so many of you have said. As I was reading it, and enjoying the charm of the Lois Lenski illustrations, I kept having the sense I had read it as a child. I think the thing is that I read some of the series when I was a child, but probably not this first one. In any case, ah, such an idyll. Recommended if you're feeling sad or mad and in need of a hug and a piece of cake.
Read aloud to my daughters ages 8 and 6 and we all loved it. Can't wait to read the next book in the series. The characters are delightful and authentic. My girls could relate to their scrapes and frustrations, and of course their friendship, which is the most important thing of all.
It has been nearly 20 years since I first read this series. (I wasn't fortunate enough to discover them when I was a child.) While going through some boxes of books my children had, intending to send some of them to my grandchildren, I came across these wonderful books. I had to sit right down and re-read this first book in the series. (It is so rare for me to re-read anything, since I always have a large stack of never-reads waiting for my attention, but I just couldn't help myself. Way back in ...more
First of all, I cannot believe it's been over 3 years since I started reading these. How has it been more than 3 years ago? Help.

I never did review these, back in the day. And while it might be a little hard to write a proper review for a children's book when you only read it for the first time at 26, I may as well try. Or just ramble, as it is what I do best.

I wanted to re-read this series last year, but then didn't get around to it. Finally doing it now, as I felt the urge to start this over
This book reminded me of my own childhood --- when the next block was an unknown, when everyone in the neighborhood had a name and an attitude towards kids, when one played without toys and hid in tall grass and visited the woods. It was also a time when children could wander unaccompanied almost anywhere. When home furnishings were not arranged to accomodate TVs and home entertainment centers.

Well, having taken my walk down memory lane, I can talk about the book a bit. Mrs. Lovelace, it seems,
To people in Deep Valley, it felt like Betsy and Tacy had always been friends, since it was difficult to imagine one without the other. The girls first became friends when they were five years old and Tacy moved to the house across the street from Betsy. Tacy is very bashful while Betsy is a born storyteller. Together, they can turn an ordinary piano box into their extraordinary hideout or a sand into their own special shop. Betsy tells Tacy stories about giant feathers or about the magic horse ...more
Matthew Hunter
Between Laura Ingalls Wilder and Maud Hart Lovelace, the Upper Midwest in the 1930s and 40s did more than it's share in writing really good stories for children. Apparently, Lovelace has such a loyal following that a Betsy-Tacy convention has been held in Lovelace's home town and the series' setting, Mankato, MN/"Deep Valley". Whether or not the stories are convention-worthy I can't say. But three-year-old Sigourney loved the read along so much that I can say the stories resonate with little one ...more
Bluerose's  Heart
I learned very quickly that I have a great deal in common with Tacy. I'm extremely curious how her character will progress through the rest of the series! I have nothing at all in common with Betsy, so I imagine we would have been good friends. Two extremely bashful people aren't going to talk a whole lot, I'm guessing. My friends in elementary school and my best friend starting in 6th grade were all a great deal more talkative than me. That's really not saying much, though. Most of the people I ...more
I will admit, I had never read these books. So I’m starting with the first one, and it was adorable. I love that the book is called “Betsy-Tacy” because the two girls were always together so when their families would call for them, they’d call “Betsy-Tacy!” I can actually hear that call in my head and it makes me smile. I also loved how Betsy basically just decided she was going to be friends with Tacy, and aside from their initial disastrous meeting, that’s exactly what happened. Children can b ...more
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Betsy-Tacy: Buying the books-standalone or collections 15 35 Jul 23, 2012 05:20AM  
  • All-of-a-Kind Family Downtown (All-of-a-Kind Family, #2)
  • Spiderweb for Two: A Melendy Maze
  • "B" Is for Betsy
  • The Moffats (The Moffats, #1)
  • Theater Shoes (Shoes, #4)
  • Understood Betsy
  • In the High Valley (Carr Family, #5)
  • The Best-Loved Doll (An Owlet Book)
  • The Betsy-Tacy Companion: A Biography of Maud Hart Lovelace
  • No Flying in the House
  • Katie John
  • The Milly-Molly-Mandy Storybook
  • In Grandma's Attic (Grandma's Attic, #1)
Maud Hart Lovelace was born on April 25, 1892, in Mankato, Minnesota. She was the middle of three children born to Thomas and Stella (Palmer) Hart. Her sister, Kathleen, was three years older, and her other sister, Helen, was six years younger. “That dear family" was the model for the fictional Ray family.

Maud’s birthplace was a small house on a hilly residential street several blocks above Mankat
More about Maud Hart Lovelace...

Other Books in the Series

Betsy-Tacy (10 books)
  • Betsy-Tacy and Tib (Betsy-Tacy, #2)
  • Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill (Betsy-Tacy, #3)
  • Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown (Betsy-Tacy, #4)
  • Heaven to Betsy (Betsy-Tacy, #5)
  • Betsy in Spite of Herself (Betsy-Tacy, #6)
  • Betsy Was a Junior (Betsy-Tacy, #7)
  • Betsy and Joe (Betsy-Tacy, #8)
  • Betsy and the Great World (Betsy-Tacy, #9)
  • Betsy's Wedding (Betsy-Tacy, #10)
Betsy-Tacy and Tib (Betsy-Tacy, #2) Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill (Betsy-Tacy, #3) Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown (Betsy-Tacy, #4) Heaven to Betsy (Betsy-Tacy, #5) Betsy and Joe (Betsy-Tacy, #8)

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“This was Betsy and Tacy's private corner. Betsy's mother was a great believer in people having private corners, and the piano box was plainly meant to belong to Betsy and Tacy, for it fitted them so snugly.” 4 likes
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